The exact personality types and/or traits of a detective are yet to be explored. However, one study found that police recruits scored higher than firefighters on extraversion and conscientiousness. The same study also found that compared to the normal population, police officers scored higher on excitement-seeking. Similarly, another study found that police applicants reported low levels of neuroticism and high levels of extraversion and conscientiousness. As detectives progress from police officers, it is likely that they will need similar characteristics.
Accomplishment and mastery
Detectives learn many of the skills they need through their degree program, their time as a police officer and through on-the-job training. Therefore, there is a high sense of accomplishment and mastery of skills. Furthermore, throughout their career, detectives will continue to feel a lot of accomplishment and mastery when the correctly solve cases and get criminals convicted. In doing this, they are protecting and serving the community… which is a great achievement!
Meaning and contribution
The meaning and contribution of a detective is high. This is because they have the skills and knowledge to solves hundreds of crimes, put the correct people in prison and therefore protect the community. This work is necessary to the proper functioning of society and the correct implementation of the justice system and is, therefore, invaluable.
Detectives usually work full time and paid overtime is common. Detectives will work long hours because crime scenes can appear around the clock – and a detective is normally one of the first people at a crime scene. Shift work is quite common for detectives, therefore they can expect to have to work evenings, weekends and holidays.
Who will thrive in this career?
To thrive as a detective, you will need to have the mental strength stamina to keep up with the demands of the job. Detectives will witness some terrible sights and work long hours, under immense pressure… its not for everyone, and you need to be tough to handle it.
To thrive in this career, you will also need to be willing to commit to the erratic schedule of a detective, such as working long days and/or evenings and weekends. On top of this, you will thrive as a detective if you can think rationally and analytically and make effective decisions. This is essential, as detectives will often work under pressure and will have to make decisions that could effect the outcome of the case.
Who will struggle in this career?
Firstly, if you would prefer to work a typical 9 to 5, then you will struggle with the unsociable and unpredictable hours of being a detective. Similarly, those who prefer to work in one place, opposed to working partly in the field/on a crime scene and partly in an office, will struggle working as a detective. Those who don’t pay attention to detail and can’t think rationally under pressure might struggle being a detective as they will miss clues and information (big or small) that could solve problems. Finally, those who lack leadership skills may struggle, as detectives must be able to confidently lead a team of other police officers.